« PreviousContinue »
reasonable correction. He knows it is usual on such occasions, to throw the blame upon friends. The author had not the most distant intention to publish -is
very sensible how unfit his performance is to meet the public eye; but friends solicited, and their importunity became irresistible.”
This is ungenerous. Those weak friends, at whose request a work of no worth is sent abroad into the world, merit public censure; but the author, whose reputation they no doubt consulted, ought not to be the first to expose them to it.
These sermons contain very little original matter. The substance of them is to be found in a great number of works. Why then bring forward again what has been said so often? Some will read these sermons who have not the disposition to purchase volumes; and others, because they have not the power. Thus knowledge will be increased, and the great design of the gospel will be promoted.
“ Concerning his Son, Jesus Christ, which was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” (Rom i. 3, 4.)
The Apostle John has remarked at the close of his gospel, that if all had been written concerning the works of the Redeemer, which might have been written, he supposed that even the world itself could not have contained the books; and if I were to say concerning his person, all that might be said, I suppose this assembly would never break up- I might continue my speech through an endless duration. My subject, therefore, is very copious; but I intend to limit my observations principally to his twofold nature.
He was made of the seed of David according to the flesh :" this refers to his human nature. He was declared, or demonstrated to be, (not made,) the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: this refers to his divine nature. But how could his resurrection be a demonstration of his divinity? It was not simply the circumstance of his being raised from the dead, but his raising himself, which proved him to be more than mortal. He taught publicly that he had power to raise himself from the dead : “ Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, what sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things ? Jesus answered and said unto them, destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. But he spake of the temple of his body. When, therefore, he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them: and ey believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had said.” “I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” (John ii. 18–22, and x, 17, 18.) No mere creature can do this. It would be easier to resist the attacks of death, than to rescue the prey out of his teeth. Only he who first united soul and body, can re-unite them. Jesus Christ, then, by rising from the dead, demonstrated himself to be a divine person.
In further addressing you upon these interesting subjects, I intend to pursue the following order :
I. Prove by a variety of arguments the proper divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
II. Show that in point of personality he is distinct from the Father.
III. Make some observations on his human nature. And,
IV. Assign some reasons why it is necessary he should be both divine and human.
I. Jesus Christ is a divine person. This doctrine is not built upon a few detached passages of scripture; it is interwoven throughout the texture of the sacred volume. The difficulty is not to find proofs, but to make a judicious selection out of an almost infinite number; for it is impossible to bring the whole inta view, within the compass of a single sermon. Divine titles are given him: divine perfections are ascribed to him: divine works are wrought by him: divine honours are paid to him. I will just glance at each of these particulars.
1. Divine titles are given him. He is called God: and the connexion, in many places where the word occurs, determines the sense in which it is to be taken :- it cannot denote less than proper divinity. He is over all, God blessed for ever: he is the great God : he is the only wise God: he is the true God. (Rom. ix. 5; Titus ii. 13; Jude 25; 1 John v. 20.) The mythology of the heathens included in it a great number of demons who were supposed to be a sort of inferior divinities, subject to the one supreme God. To exclude entirely such low notions of Jesus Christ, as though he were only like one of these demons, the apostle tells Titus, who was a Gentile, that he is the great God; and the Romans, that he is over all - terms which they could not but understand as designating the supreme Being. And since Christ is also the only wise God, and the true God, if there be another god who differs from him in any
attribute or property, he must be both a foolish and a false god. Thus the poor subterfuge is cut off, that Jesus Christ is a God by office, or delegation, and not by nature.
He is called Jehovah, which word denotes self-existence : “I saw Jehovah sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphim : each one had six wings : with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts : the whole earth is full of his glory. Then said I, wo is me, for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the king, Jehovah of hosts." (Isaiah vi. 1-5.) The Apostle John refers to this display of the divine glory : "Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, he hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart, that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.” (John xii. 39 — 41.) The quotation of the apostle is taken from the tenth verse of this chapter : “Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes ; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.” It is clear, therefore, that the apostle refers to this vision of the prophet; and that infallible interpreter assures us, that the glory of Jehovah, which the prophet saw, was indeed the glory of our blessed Saviour. Here, then, we have incontestible evidence of Christ being called Jehovah no less than six times in one chapter.
Let us turn aside for a moment and see this great sight--the glory of our divine Emmanuel. Behold his exaltation! He is "sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up." Observe his train! All the holy angels are his retinue. (Matt. xxv. 31.) See with what reverence the flaming seraphim move in his presence ! their faces veiled, not daring to gaze on the effulgence of his glory, and in solemn accents crying, “ Holy, holy, holy, is Jehovah of hosts.": Who is this king of glory? Is he a mere man? Is he an angel ? You hear the apostle say, “ It is Jesus," fall down, like Thomas, and adore
Lord and God. “ I will only mention another passage where Christ is stiled Jehovah : “ Tell ye and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together : who hath declared this from ancient time? Who hath told it from that time? Have not I Jehovah: And there is no God else besides me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth ; for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in Jehovah have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come, and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In Jehovah shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” (Isaiah xlv. 21-25.) The apostle Paul has twice applied this passage to our Lord: “We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, as I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bowto me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” “ That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” (Rom. xiv. 10, 11; Phil. ii. 10, 11.) The apostle cites the prophet to prove, that we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that at his name every knee shall bow, and that every tongue shall confess him to be Lord. But the words of the prophet cannot, by any possible construction, prove these things upon any other supposition than that the Jehovah God, whom he speaks of, is our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Saviour, then, is called Jehovah three times in this passage; and the peculiarity of the phraseology employed, shows that none other than the supreme Being can be intended : “ There is no God else besides me, a just God, and a Saviour, there is none besides me.” “I am God, and there is none else.” This language is utterly inconsistent with the notion that this Jehovah God is a creature. Hence it is evident, that the term itself, which denotes selfexistence, and the connexion in which it stands when applied to Christ, both prove, as far as language can prove anything, the proper divinity of our glorious Redeemer.
2. Divine perfections are ascribed to him. Every feature of divinity is visible in Jesus, and he answers to the whole of the divine character, as the impression on the wax answers to the seal. “ He is the brightness of God's glory, and the express image of his per
" He thought it no robbery to be equal with God.” (Heb. i. 3; Phil. ii. 6.)